It's tough for teen girls to get the physical activity they need to stay fit. School budget cuts have eliminated physical education and athletics programs at many schools, cafeterias often supply junk food and sugary drinks for lunch and modern technology means that teens spend a lot of time in front of computer screens and televisions. Fortunately, it's easy for teen girls to tone up if they put their minds to it.
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Evaluate your reasons for wanting to get toned before you embark on an exercise regimen. Be sure that you are exercising to feel good and be healthy, not to look good or get skinny. The media and your peers place enough pressure on teen girls to look a certain way and have a certain body type. Don't put additional pressure on yourself.
Join a sports team, such as soccer, track and field, rounders, hockey or netball at your school. This is one of the easiest ways for teen girls to tone up on a relatively fast basis because you will be required to attend practices several days a week. It's easier to stay on track with your fitness plan if you know that you'll have to answer to your team if you miss practice. Your teammates will motivate you to work hard, and seeing practices and games as social experiences instead of just physically gruelling ones can be helpful. Your coach will also have the knowledge to prescribe a safe, healthy exercise regimen for your fitness level.
Take a fitness class, whether it's at your school or at a gym. If you want to develop long, lean muscles and agility, try gymnastics, yoga, Pilates or ballet. Aerobic exercise, such as aerobics, dance or spinning, will get your heart pumping and your muscles working as well as improve your stamina.
Try old-fashioned workout routines at home. Simple sit-ups, push-ups, lunges and running are great ways to get in shape if you devote at least 30 minutes a day, three days a week to them. If you love dancing, turn up your favourite Lady Gaga dance tunes and dance for half an hour. Doing these easy, free workouts on a regular basis may have you seeing changes in your muscle tone after several weeks.
Practice strength-training exercises, which are specifically geared to develop muscle tone. Ask your coach or a personal fitness trainer at a gym to show you how to properly lift free weights and use weightlifting machines. A personal trainer can also help you develop a circuit training plan, which will help you use several types of weightlifting machines in a series to get the most benefit.
Tips and warnings
- Be patient with yourself. Don't expect to see results overnight; it takes at least several weeks of consistent exercise to begin to see results.
- Working out obsessively will not cause you to become toned faster. It can also lead to psychologically harmful thinking. If you are working out around the clock in an effort to lose weight, or if you are struggling with an eating disorder, seek immediate help from a parent, school counsellor, teacher or other trusted adult.
- Certain exercises may not be appropriate for you if you have a medical condition. Discuss your health with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.
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